Inconvenient truths


Facing uncomfortable facts

My latest article has been published in Coaching at Work magazine’s reflection column (Jan/Feb 2019 edition).  It looks at our reluctance as human beings to face uncomfortable facts, and the implications for organisational behaviour, especially where this can be counterproductive, or lead to ignoring obvious truths, such as poor leadership or distress in a team.


Wilful blindness

Margaret Heffernan treats this issue powerfully in her book ‘Wilful Blindness’ (London, Simon & Shuster, 2012).  She suggests that we all have the capacity to act more more freely and to see better – to see beyond the norms that surround us – and that we overestimate the benefit of conformity and we fail to constructuctively challenge both ourselves and others.

I believe my role as external coach carries responsibility to surface and illuminate what may be hidden or opaque, to peel away layers of wilful blindness and enable sight of reality, which can be uncomfortable, confronting and liberating for my clients.  Equally I need also to facilitate the client to build the courage they require if they are to encounter difficult realities.


Coaching offers a safe space

Coaching can offer some of its greatest value, I believe, by creating a space of such safety that the client feels able to face – and wrestle with – new, confronting, difficult and even existential questions which they have previously been able to avoid by getting lost in their own and their organisation’s wilful blindness.


Find the article here if you’re a subscriber to Coaching at Work, or e-mail me at for a pdf


Photo by Marc Wathieu via Compfight

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